Commonly Asked Questions About Commercial
- What is your address? Your telephone number?
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Cleveland Center, Code L
PO Box 998002
Cleveland, Ohio 44199-8002
(216) 522-5301 (Customer Service)
- What is the Garnishment Operations Fax Number?
Commercial (216) 522-6960 or DSN 580-6960
In improving the processes in the Garnishment Operations we are
now using a fax gateway directly into our Electronic Document
Management System. To ensure your document is processed in a timely
and efficient manner you must include the following information on
the fax document and follow the additional guidance provided:
- Member/Employee Social Security Number (SSN) - Court
Orders/Documents will not be processed if the SSN is not on the
- Return Phone Number
- Return Fax Number
- Ensure original documents are clear and legible
- In each fax transmission, include only correspondence for one
member or employee (if you have multiple documents for one
member, they can be sent on one fax transmission)
- How does one garnish the wages of a civilian Federal
employee for a commercial debt?
The creditor must serve a withholding order on the Defense Finance
and Accounting Service, Cleveland Center. The order must direct the
United States government to withhold monies from the employee's
wages and pay them to either the creditor or the court. Your State
law directs the garnishment process and, therefore, you may want to
contact an attorney for more information.
- How does one garnish the wages of a member of the military?
Members of the active duty military are not subject to garnishment
for commercial debt. However, their pay can be attached through the
military involuntary allotment process. In order to attach the pay
of an active duty service member, a creditor must submit the
following documents: DD Form 2653 (Involuntary Allotment
Application) and a copy of the final judgment, certified by the
clerk of court. The creditor must send an original DD Form 2653; an
original certified copy of the final judgment and three (3) copies
of the entire package. The package must be served on the Cleveland
Center at the above address.
- Are military or civil service retirees subject to
No, the new commercial debt law only applies to active civilian
employees and active duty military personnel.
- A garnishment was rejected because the order required the
government to withhold money from the employee's wages, but not to
send any money to the court until later. What happened?
The wage order MUST provide for payments to be sent to either the
court or the creditor. The Department of Defense pay systems have no
way to escrow money pending further order of the court. The
government regulations governing this new law do not require the pay
systems to vary their pay cycle in order to comply with a
- How much money can one receive on a garnishment?
Under Federal law the maximum amount a creditor can receive is 25%
of disposable earnings, unless a lower maximum amount is provided by
state or local law. The applicable Federal statute is the Consumer
Credit Protection Act is found at 15 U.S.C. 1673.
- How are disposable earnings determined?
The amounts subject to garnishment and items excluded from
garnishment to arrive at the amount of disposable earnings are
specified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 5 C.F.R. part 582.
- What happens if the employee is paying child support?
If the support garnishment is taking more than 25% of disposable
earnings the commercial garnishment order will not be honored. By
federal law, child support has priority over commercial
- What happens if DFAS gets more than one commercial
garnishment on the same person?
If more than one commercial garnishment is received, the agency
shall satisfy such orders in order, based on the time of service.
These will be "stacked" in the pay system. Orders that
have no expiration date will retain their priority. Orders that are
time limited will lose their priority once they expire.
- What kind of information does DFAS need on the employee to
identify the debtor/ employee?
You need to provide the debtor's name and Social Security number.
The Social Security number is absolutely essential. Without that
number the agency cannot process the wage withholding order.
- Can one serve a subpoena on DFAS to obtain pay or employment
related information about an employee?
Yes, however, the Privacy Act of 1974 requires that the subpoena be
signed by a judge.
- Is there any cost involved with serving a garnishment on
Yes, the employee will be charged an administrative fee of $75. This
amount will be deducted from the employee at the time the
garnishment is processed.
- What happens to a garnishment if the debtor files
The agency is required to comply with the Bankruptcy court-ordered
"automatic stay." When a bankruptcy is filed the
garnishment will be terminated.